I’m Nicole Stevens, a vegan Registered Dietitian.
I created Lettuce Veg Out in 2016 as a food blog and have since expanded it with resources that help vegans live a balanced life and gain confidence in the kitchen.
Trying new recipes, getting creative in the kitchen and eating meals that taste amazing are the core reasons why I started a food blog. Becoming a Registered Dietitian is what enabled me to share my knowledge about vegan nutrition.
Food and nutrition go hand-in-hand. I’m thankful to share both vegan recipes and nutrition articles!
All my work in vegan nutrition is evidence-based and I strive to look at both sides to the story. My goal is always to provide helpful information while reducing the misinformation about vegan nutrition that is abundantly available online.
Join me in this journey towards a sustainable vegan lifestyle without restriction!
Lettuce veg out together! 😊
How Do You Become a Registered Dietitian?
I’m often approached with the question of how I became a dietitian, and specifically how to become a vegan dietitian.
To become a Registered Dietitian, there are a few standard steps.
Complete an undergraduate degree at an accredited university
I completed my Bachelors of Applied Science, Applied Human Nutrition, at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.
Complete a supervised post-degree diploma or Masters/ practicum program
I completed a Masters of Science in Foods and Nutrition at Western University in Ontario, Canada. This included a full year of placements under the supervision of specialized dietitians focusing on:
- Diabetes care
- Outpatient counselling
- Community nutrition
- Inpatient nutrition care
Pass a national registration exam (the CDRE)
I passed this exam and became registered to practice as a dietitian in Canada. Dietitians are regulated provincially, and I’m currently registered with the Province of Nova Scotia.
The specific requirements to become a Registered Dietitian may vary depending on where you live. However, as Registered Dietitians are regulated healthcare professionals, these standard steps are similar in many countries.
Reach out to the healthcare organization that regulates dietitians where you live if you’re interested in pursuing this profession.
Why Become a Registered Dietitian?
Given that it takes at least 5 full years of study to become a dietitian, you may wonder why someone would choose this path.
For most of my life, I didn’t know what a dietitian was, or what they can do to help.
It’s especially confusing considering there are other titles like nutritionist, nutrition coach or health coach and there aren’t always clear distinctions between these titles.
What these titles mean, and who can use them, depends on the location of the person using the title. In certain areas of the world, only Registered Dietitians who have completed rigorous schooling and who are registered to practice, can use titles like dietitian or nutritionist.
However, in many areas, titles like nutritionist are not regulated and anyone can technically use them.
I believe education and regulation is important when providing information that's pertinent to health and wellbeing.
The reality is that nutrition is a very complex subject and years of schooling are needed to properly understand the risk and harms that can come from improper nutrition advice. The more you learn about nutrition, the more you realize you have just scratched the surface on what you need to know.
Once I learned the difference between a dietitian and nutritionist, I believed it was important for me to become a dietitian. I feel that having more plant-based dietitians is beneficial to help those living a more balanced, sustainable lifestyle.
Why Do I Call Myself a Vegan Registered Dietitian?
I often get asked what program or certification I took to become a “vegan dietitian”. There are no programs to become a vegan dietitian specifically.
The path to becoming a dietitian is standardized for everyone wanting to pursue this profession. Once out of school, many dietitians specialize in one area or another.
Like how doctors specialize in one aspect of medicine, it’s helpful for dietitians to specialize as there is simply too much complexity to nutrition to keep up with all areas of study.
To become a “vegan dietitian” I first became a Registered Dietitian. Then I spent hundreds of hours learning about vegan nutrition.
Dietitians are required to complete continuing education every year, so I always keep up-to-date with learning.
Self-study, along with over a decade of personal experience eating a plant-based diet, helps me to share my knowledge and educate other vegans on their journey.
It’s also beneficial for me to use the word “vegan” in my title because it helps those interested in learning about vegan nutrition find my website. Given the incomplete and often misleading nutrition information online about vegan diets, I feel there is a need for people interested in vegan nutrition to access an evidence-based and trustworthy voice.
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